Financialisation and Corporate Responsibility: Implications for the Nature of the Firm
10 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2015 Last revised: 9 Feb 2018
Date Written: July 16, 2009
In this paper we set out a series of primarily conceptual arguments. Each argument may suggest further conceptual, empirical and normative analysis. We necessarily make a number of assumptions that we hope are reasonably clear, even where they are considered incorrect or flawed.
We start with a general claim: firms have reasons for acting. We consider some key aspects of, and possible changes to, these reasons. This is of course only one of many starting points for the analysis of firms. We can describe multiple reasons for acting for each firm. However, we seem to recognise that firms ought to take certain actions and aim to produce certain outcomes. This suggests that, to this extent at least, these reasons can be described as ethical reasons.
We focus on two dimensions of a firm’s reasons for acting. The first concerns the responsibility for actions and outcomes; in general this can be described as the degree of corporate responsibility. The second concerns the significance of various financial considerations; in general this can be described as the degree of financialisation.
We suggest that changes to corporate responsibility and financialisation may inform a firm’s reasons for acting. These changes may have more of less significant implications for the firm.
Keywords: Corporate responsibility, financialisation, CSR, firm’s reasons for acting
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